Friday, October 30, 2015

20 Things to Know Before Studying Abroad in Salzburg, Austria

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  1. Hofer only accepts cash & is the cheapest place for groceries.
  2. It isn't acceptable to put your feet up on any sort of public transportation and people have no problem telling you so.
  3. Bus lines are insanely hard to get after midnight. If you live out of town, taxis are sometimes inevitable after a night out.
  4. Salzburg is extremely bikable. There are tons of running/biking/walking paths around the city - look into renting or buying a bike while you're here!
  5. It is very "American" to eat while walking, don't do it unless you have to. Takeaway coffee, however, is starting to become more normal (thank goodness)!
  6. Food is not allowed on public transportation (there's a reason why the buses are so clean).
  7. There is a university gym located above Merkur on Alpenstra├če. It's a €5 drop in, which ultimately beats paying for a gym membership and can get you your sweat fix between weekend travel.
  8. Use FlixBus for traveling - it's €7 to get into Munich, and you can fly out of Munich for WAY less than you can fly out of Salzburg. They also have somewhat reliable wifi, super clean buses, and a very user-friendly app for booking.
  9. Everything except gas stations and the Spar in the train station will be closed on Sundays, so plan ahead when it comes to grocery shopping.
  10. Go to Oktoberfest in Munich for a weekend if you happen to be studying abroad during the fall. You won't regret it (although you may regret some decisions made while you're there!).
  11. Purchase trachten (traditional clothing) to wear at Oktoberfest or for other local festivals throughout the year. You will stick out at Oktoberfest if you don't, and dirndls are really quite photogenic. German women typically have a professional quality hairstyle and full face of makeup done for the event, and get their first dirndls as a coming-of-age gift (fun fact)
  12. Say please (bitte) and thank you (danke) when speaking to locals. It lessens the blow of being an irritating American
  13. Don't talk so loud (this applies across Europe)
  14. Munich is actually really cool and under 2 hours away (and under €10). Hostel suggestions and day trips can be found in a post coming soon!
  15. Save on food while you're in town, but don't be afraid to splurge for some treats on your side trips. Don't come back with regrets! 
  16. Take advantage of your weekends. Don't spend them in bed (although give yourself time to recharge occasionally)
  17. Try not to lock into a specific group of people within your program or group. Everyone who studies abroad has something interesting to offer - and the fact that all these people chose Salzburg, of all places, means you probably have a lot in common
  18. Carry a water bottle around with you, and don't be afraid to drink the tap water here - it's totally safe. Like most places in Europe, water isn't served with meals automatically! I ended up getting a water bottle with a built-in filter just to make myself feel a little better about filling it up all over the place.
  19. During your first few weeks abroad, things can feel really overwhelming. I wish I had worked harder at creating a schedule for myself and gotten involved with the sport classes at my university. Try to open your eyes to new opportunities!
  20. Lastly, it's okay to feel homesick. Or not at all. Being here has been an emotional whirlwind for me, and I think that's normal (and totally okay). Accept your feelings and try to find someone you're comfortable talking to about it.

Did I miss anything? I feel as though I could go on for hours - if you have any tips about studying abroad in Salzburg (or anywhere) I would LOVE to hear them!

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